As you build your limited liability company (LLC), you will likely discover that the process is much more complex than you initially thought.
Whenever you’re launching a new venture, complications inevitably arise, often in the form of unexpected costs. One such consideration is the registered agent cost associated with your company.
By law, all formal business entities in the United States need to have a registered agent, but the details beyond that may vary. But how much does a registered agent cost? And, while we’re at it, what do they do exactly? Let’s discuss.
What Is a Registered Agent?
Although they may go by several names (including “commercial resident agent,” “statutory agent” or even “agent for service of process”), registered agents all serve essentially the same purpose.
These individuals are the persons of record designated to receive all official documents and other correspondence that is pertinent to your company.
Here are just a few examples of the documentation that your registered agent may be responsible for:
- Any state and federal government correspondence, information or notifications
- Tax forms, invoices and other financial documents
- Service of process notices, such as those tied to legal notices or court appearances
- Outstanding requests to finalize unresolved reporting, permitting or other company filings
Because these documents are often time sensitive, your registered agent is expected to be available to receive and sign for these materials. Once these are received, your registered agent forwards it on to your company for further action, if necessary.
Think of your registered agent as the collection point through which your company’s paperwork flows, and you’ll start to get the gist of why this role is so critical to your long-term success.
What Role Do Registered Agents Play?
Regardless of what state your company is based in, all U.S. businesses (LLC, S Corporation, nonprofit corporation, etc.) legally need to have a registered agent on file.
Who this person is in relation to your company, however, depends on you. Technically, anyone associated with your business who is willing to take on the duties of being your registered agent may opt to fill this role. Still, you need to be sure that he or she appreciates how vital their function is within the larger picture of your company. Of course, your registered agent does need to fulfill a few simple criteria before he or she is officially onboard.
While your registered agent can be an individual or a business, your company itself cannot serve as its own registered agent. If you name an individual or business as your registered agent, they must reside in the same state where your company is based or be legally permitted to conduct business there, respectively. They also must have a physical street address in this state and, of course, be available during normal business hours to receive your company’s mail.
If you fail to name a trusted registered agent, you are setting your company up for trouble down the line. Imagine the fallout if you fail to make a scheduled court appearance, lose your company’s registered status or fail to file the necessary financial paperwork in time. Yeah, having a registered agent is that important.
Serving as Your Company’s Registered Agent
Just because you need a registered agent, the process doesn’t have to be an excruciating one. You can even opt to serve as your own registered agent. This is different from listing your company as its own agent because you will be acting as an individual in this role, provided you fulfill the criteria we discussed above.
If your business isn’t based in your home state, this might not be the best solution. Plus, you have to change your address on file if you were to move to another state.
The registered agent for your company is also a matter of public record, meaning that your name will be inextricably tied to the business for all to see. For the sake of privacy, you may wish to avoid this scenario.
Further complicating the idea of serving as your own registered agent is the fact that someone needs to be present during business hours every day to accept time-sensitive documents. This might not apply to you either, in which case a registered agent service — such as the one we provide at Incfile — might alleviate that pressure.
These organizations will accept documents on behalf or your company, fulfilling all the duties of your registered agent without any of the stresses that you might otherwise face. Rather than entrusting this responsibility to someone unreliable or bearing that burden themselves, many business owners turn to registered agent services to solve their problems, to great effect.
Anticipating the Future
Your company’s registered agent is one way you can prepare for whatever the future may bring your way. If you need assistance in securing a registered agent, then look no further than Incfile.
Our Registered Agent service is only one facet of what we do. With our extensive resources and expert assistance, you’ll have all the tools and knowledge to create a stable foundation for your company — one that allows you to enter the market with confidence.
To learn more about how we can help, check out our website and get started today!